We live on an island surrounded by water. The UK has always been known as a nation of sailors but it is not something that everyone grows up being able to do.
When starting our learning to sail there are different paths to follow but the main thing to be aware of is that there is one governing body, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) so any training you do should be done by someone approved by the RYA. The question is do you want to sail a big boat, yacht sailing, or a smaller boat, dinghy sailing.
If you are not sure then maybe start with dinghy sailing. The entry level for this is the RYA Level 1 and is offered at RYA training centres all over the UK. If you want to be able to sail on the sea then do the training at a coastal venue to ensure that you get a Coastal Endorsement. Such a venue as
Lagoon Watersports in Brighton has years of experience and is able to take you from your first steps of how to rig the boat through to the theory of wind and tides. After the Level 1 comes the Level 2 which is a bit like the driving licence of dinghies in that this is the level of qualification that is required for you to be able to hire a dinghy in most centres. After that there is race training, spinnaker training and various other courses that can take you on to what ever level you want to get to.
You might find that once you have mastered dinghy sailing larger boats and maybe flotilla holidays start to appeal. For this you will need to do the various levels of yacht training. You do not need to learn to sail a dinghy to be able to sail a yacht. If you have obtained your Dinghy Level 2 on a keelboat you may find that you can short cut your Competent Crew course i.e. not do the full 5 days and start heading to your Day Skipper (licence to charter a boat!).